One of the best things about the offseason is the releases of annual prospect rankings, and today comes another one as John Sickels of Minor League Ball released his Cubs Top 20 (21) rankings, complete with prospect grades and a look at a few outsiders looking in.
Dabynsky previously took a look at Sickels grading scale and predicted where prospects would fall over at our Chicago Now blog after Sickels released a preliminary report of how many players in the system would fall into which grade.
A-: Still technically an A of sorts, as Albert Almora checks in at #3 with an A-. Note that the team’s first round (non-supplemental) draft picks from 2011, 2012 and 2013 all earned at least an A-.
B+: Dabynsky’s perfect streak stayed alive, assigning both C.J. Edwards and Jorge Soler B+’s. Soler was ranked #4 and Edwards came up at #5. What’s better than having a B+ pitching prospect (besides having four position prospects with at least that rank)? Maybe having that B+ position prospect and two other Top 20 prospects acquired in a single trade? Ya, that sounds good.
B: Well, Dabynsky’s streak had to end somehow, as Sickels listed four players with a “B” instead of the stated amount of two. Arismendy Alcantara snuck in ahead of Pierce Johnson, as the duo were ranked #6 and #7 respectively. Also given B’s were Jeimer Candelario and Dan Vogelbach at #8 and #9.
B-: Not part of the Garza trade, but rather the Dempster trade, Christian Villanueva is another solid prospect acquired from Texas. Like Edwards, Villanueva was not the only player acquired in the same trade that made this list.
C+: A grand total of eleven players made the list with a C+, a testament to the depth of the system. In order, from #11 to #21: Arodys Vizcaino, Mike Olt and Neil Ramirez (both acquired with Edwards), Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters, Kyle Hendricks (same trade as Villanueva), Corey Black, Rob Zastryzny, Ivan Pineyro, Paul Blackburn and Kevin Encarnacion.
“Others”: Sickels listed addition prospects who just missed the list alphabetically: Gioskar Amaya, Yasiel Balaguert, Dallas Beeler, Shawon Dunston, Jr., Jacob Hannemann, Brett Jackson, Eloy Jimenez, Eric Jokisch, Dillon Maples, Brett Marshall, Jefferson Mejia, Armando Rivero, Gleyber Torres, Jen-Ho Tseng, Logan Watkins and Ben Wells.
2013: #2 3B Kris Bryant (Draft), #5 RHP C.J. Edwards (Garza trade), #12 3B Mike Olt (Garza trade), #13 RHP Neil Ramirez (Garza trade), #17 RHP Corey Black (Soriano trade), #18 LHP Rob Zastryzny (Draft), #19 RHP Ivan Pineyro (Hairston trade)
2012: #3 OF Albert Almora (Draft), #4 OF Jorge Soler (International FA), #7 RHP Pierce Johnson (Draft), #10 3B Christian Villanueva (Dempster trade), #11 RHP Arodys Vizcaino (Maholm/Johnson trade), #16 RHP Kyle Hendricks (Dempster trade), #20 RHP Paul Blackburn (Draft)
2011: #1 SS Javier Baez (Draft), #9 1B Dan Vogelbach (Draft)
2010: #8 3B Jeimer Candelario (International FA), #14 OF Matt Szczur (Draft), #21 OF Kevin Encarnacion (International FA)
2009: None in Top 21
2008: #6 2B Arismendy Alcantara (International FA)
2007: #15 OF Josh Vitters (Draft)